obit gassaway

Patricia Ann “Sody” Gassaway, 1936–2018

Patricia Ann “Sody” Gassaway passed away peacefully in her home on Oct. 25, 2018. She was 82. A public graveside service will be held at the Tehachapi Public Cemetery Eastside at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018.

Sody was born on Sept. 14, 1936, at her grandparents’ house in Delano, Calif. Her parents were Donald Burnett Hayes and Lena Mae Hayes. At the age of 2 weeks, her family moved to Tehachapi, where she resided for the rest of her life.

She attended Tehachapi Grammar School, now known as the Wells Education Center, and graduated from Tehachapi High School in the class of 1954. She married Jack Dale Gassaway in August of 1955. This union produced two children; son, Timothy Dale Gassaway, and daughter, Cynthia Lea Gassaway. The marriage ended in divorce in 1987.

When her children started grade school, Sody went to work for the Tehachapi Unified School District. She began her career as a cafeteria worker and was part of a team of ladies that prepared a hot lunch every day for thousands of children over the years. In the late 1970s she went on to train as a school bus driver, transporting thousands of children until her retirement in 1994. She worked for the school district for 33 years.

In retirement, she knitted hundreds of baby afghans that were donated to various charities. She served as treasurer for the city of Tehachapi for 10 years. She volunteered at the Hospital Guild and answered the phone at the hospital. She loved to travel and was able to see much of the world.

Sody is survived by her son, Timothy and wife, Linda Gassaway; daughter, Cynthia Gassaway; and all of Tehachapi. She is also survived by grandson, Jonas Gassaway; nephews, Patrick, Mike, and Erin Whitby; and niece, Stacy King. She leaves behind her circle of fun and loving, and fun-loving friends, many of whom she had known since childhood. These precious ladies were with her even in her last days.

She was preceded in death by her father, Donald; mother, Lena; and her sister, Gaylee Whitby.

The family wishes to thank Optimal Hospice, especially Heather and Yvonne, for their excellent care during her last days. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Tehachapi Hospital Guild.

Wood Family Funeral Service, Inc. is handling the arrangements. For condolences, please visit

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